2022 Portfolios


Matthew Nelson



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Four years flew by so fast. My four years at Fontbonne could not have been better. Well, maybe the pandemic didn’t have to happen, but some things in life you just can’t change. When I started Fontbonne four years ago I was a very different person than I am today. I was completely panicked to be starting college, I was shy and quiet, and I felt like I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Four years later, and although I would still consider myself an introvert, I realize that I had nothing to panic about. All of the faculty at Fontbonne were there for me; they helped me succeed. I became a member of TELOS, ALD, and ODK. I have made so many friends, and I love that my professors know me personally. Being a TELOS scholar has allowed me to explore my inner self and make the most out of this absolutely amazing school, Fontbonne University.

My sophomore year at Fontbonne was, like many others, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our family suddenly shifted from being scattered around the country to myself, my 3 siblings, and my parents now all learning and working remotely from home. I feel strongly about the importance of family, and I am close with all my siblings, especially my twin brother. Although it’s absolutely fabulous to have siblings, and I wouldn’t change it for the world, it can also come with challenges. My sister went to college in New York, and now works in New York as a teacher. My twin brother is in college in New York, and my younger brother is also in college in New York. Can you see a theme here? It was really hard for me to be the only one here with my parents. I felt less than them, and I felt like I was missing out. But what I’ve realized is that what I have at Fontbonne, a close-knit community with professors who know me by name, that is something that I wouldn’t get in New York. What’s important to me is to be in a friendly and supportive environment. That is where I succeed. I have no desire to ever live in New York. It’s a great place to travel to and be a tourist, but it’s not for me to live there. This was something that I struggled with at first, but now I am able to see it clearly.

In June of 2020, after three months of quarantine, my younger brother, 18 at the time, went out for a bike ride. In his 20th mile, when he was almost home, a delivery truck driver reversed without looking, and struck him. I was on the floor of my room doing yoga with my puppy Charlie when my twin brother called me. He never calls me out of the blue. When I answered he said, “Don’t panic, Avi was out biking and was hit by a truck, we are on the way to the scene.” Avi was unconscious and rushed to Children’s Hospital. His saving grace was that he was wearing a helmet, which saved his life. Avi spent hours in the emergency room where he kept asking the same questions repetitively and screaming in pain from a broken bone. Avi had no idea what happened to him. On his care team was a child life specialist named Ericka. She came into the room and started talking to Avi. She asked him about his family and where he was going to college. Avi started telling her about our family’s new puppy Charlie. Ericka calmed Avi down, and that calmed the rest of us too. Ericka went from room to room with Avi explaining what was happening and what the procedures would be like. The accident changed Avi, and it also changed me.

As my brother was home and recovering, I realized I wanted to work in a profession that benefited other people. Avi’s description of how Ericka helped him through his recovery piqued my interest in the field of child life. When I began college in the fall of 2018 at Fontbonne University, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career. I have always had a creative side to me, and a love for fashion, so I majored in Fashion Merchandising. This program allowed me to grow my creativity and expand my knowledge of fashion, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit my life to it. After my brother’s accident I realized I had a different calling.

My brother’s accident was definitely one aspect that led me to this profession, but when I look back at my life, especially my four years at Fontbonne, this job of being able to help sick kids feel a little bit better really is so fitting for me. I know what it’s like to be a sick kid, and not know where your life is heading. I know what trauma feels like, and I want to help kids feel better when life seems out of their control.

My education at Fontbonne has led me to a degree in fashion merchandising, however it is really much more than a degree. People can reflect and notice the challenges and hurdles they have had to tackle, or they can look at all those challenges and realize how that has made them a better person, perhaps the best person they can be. This portfolio reflects my four years at Fontbonne, and how each aspect of TELOS, transformation, exploration, leadership, occupation, and service/social justice has allowed me to showcase my true passions and allowed me to be the best version of myself possible. This is a portfolio of me.


Fashion Merchandising

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2022


Fontbonne University Archives


St. Louis, MO

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

2022 Honors Portfolio



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